Friday, May 22, 2015

North Springfield Reservoir

great horned owl and owlet
Today we birded at the North Springfield Reservoir, there's a variety of spots to explore with lots of trails. There's over 1300 acres of forest, field, wetland and two lakes. At the north end, in a pine tree, a pair of bald eagles had been nesting for a few years. But in late winter, a pair of great horned owls stole their nest! I'm not sure if the bald eagles found a new spot in the area or not.
great horned owlet
 The fledged great horned owlet sat up against the tree trunk waiting for his parents to return with food. Young owls move onto nearby branches when they are six weeks old.

prairie warbler
On a trail that follows the fence line of the Hartness State Airport, we always find prairie warblers. Not a bird of open prairies, this warbler nests mainly in young second growth scrub and densely overgrown fields.

Baltimore oriole
Not named for the city of Baltimore, but the 17th century Lord Baltimore whose heraldic, coat-of-arms colors they share. Regardless, the Baltimore oriole is the state bird of Maryland.

alder flycatcher
One of the last migrants to return in the spring, this alder flycatcher was singing his "ray-BEER" song. This flycatcher is identical to the willow flycatcher and can only be determined by their song which is not learned but rather, inherited. The willow flycatcher sings "FITZ-bew", we heard both species in the area.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Warbler Walk

yellow warbler
Last Saturday, Gerry and I joined the southeastern Audubon group for a warbler walk led by Richard Foye. We walked along the Fort Hill Rail Trail, aka the Hinsdale setbacks, in New Hampshire. It's a great spot for migrating birds along the Connecticut River.

Richard telling the group about the bird we're hearing - now we need to find it!

Warblers are always high in the trees!

 Our most common warbler of the day was the yellow-rumped warbler. We must have seen 50 or more!

The common yellowthroat is another very abundant warbler.. This is the female, the males are usually the ones seen, since they make the most noise singing! wichety wichety wichety!

Another warbler usually found near water is the yellow warbler, even on an overcast day, this warbler is as bright as the sun. He sings "sweet, sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet!"

A very good find was this singing, yellow-throated vireo.

The yellow-throated vireo showing off his color!

We also found a pair of blue-gray gnatcatchers building a nest. They use spiderwebs on the outside and add lichen. Once it's finished, it's well camouflaged.

gray catbird    

savannah sparrow

common grackle

northern rough-winged swallow
There was lots of bird activity on our walk, we enjoyed many species, not only warblers. We found 8 warbler species without too much trouble; yellow, yellow-rumped, black-and-white, northern parula, blackpoll, northern waterthrush, common yellowthroat and American redstart.